Bernhard Schipper was born 1970 in Bautzen. He lives and works in Leipzig as a media
artist, curator and musician.
My first memory of Halle Zoo? It must have been in the early 80s – 81 or 82. At that
time I had already been to a few zoos: Dresden, Leipzig, Halle and this place in
Bautzen, which was not yet a proper zoo but was where we spent much of our school
holidays. Its official name was "Platz des Friedens [Peace Square]", and covered
an area of 2 hectares, where the aquarium enthusiasts of the Cultural Alliance had
their annual exhibitions, including one exhibiting my Redfin perch.
It's eight o'clock in the morning after a short night, checking in at two after having
eaten in some diner and looking the whole time at the Wynn’s neon sign – a thousand
animated LEDs yielding an elegant sweep of flowing, golden lettering. But in the
morning from the hotel window no longer seems quite as spectacular. But at least
I can now see the city and know this is one of the places which actually cannot exist
because they have been created purely based on the ideas of hypomanic businessmen.
The perfect place for a media artist who has been looking for a job in industry and
has gone over to the "dark side of power". Definitely a lot of fun.
The perch which I reared for five years from spawn and which ran out of air in the
middle of summer 1984 while I was in summer camp because of the air supply being
cut as a result of a power cut in its aquarium is some distance away. I am in Las
Vegas and I have to admit that I love this town. No I am not a gambler and that is
the reason why I can really enjoy the city in its entirety. How many rooms do hotels
like this have? 5,000? 7,000? How many hotels are there like this? What happens when
even only two thirds of the guests get up between seven and eight in the morning
and flush their toilets at the same time without pushing the water saving button?
After all, we are in the desert.
The good thing about it, however, is that we can feel safe because zoos concern themselves
with threatened species. Thanks, dear Zoo. Where can I find the ice? Oh yes – where
else would you be able to motivate a Siberian tiger to "go forth and multiply"? Have
you ever wondered what the differences are between environment protection, nature
protection, endangered species protection, animal protection and plant protection
are? No? Well you can all forget it. My daughter started to cry not long ago when
I told her why Chinese ladybirds – oh, they're so pretty! – are bad for the German
ladybirds – they're pretty too! It is a classical dilemma. One of them will die out.
It is true Halle Zoo doesn't have a Gondwanaland (ShopFoodEdutainment) but does have
a slot machine with the title "to the unnamed animal". Why don't you make your own
unnamed animal. You just need a second. And then let it become extinct as soon as
the wheels start turning again.